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Friday, November 09, 2007

Know Your Foe - Wisconsin 2007

The Wolverines complete their road schedule on Saturday as they travel to Wisconsin. It’ll only be the third state Michigan has played in this year. The Wolverines have won eight straight after dropping their first two. Wisconsin has tumbled from its lofty ranking after losing three conference games. The Wolverines beat Wisconsin last year 27-13 to avenge a loss the previous season. Michigan has won 48 of the previous 60 meetings (there was one tie) and have lost only four to the Badgers in the last 45 years, though three of those were in Madison. Before the two weasels get familiar on the field, you should get familiar with Wisconsin by reading the MZone’s KNOW YOUR FOE.

History – The university essentially came into being the same day the state did. The establishment of a state university was part of the state constitution in 1848. The south border of campus was Mineral Point Road which is now University Avenue (they would have scored far more points in Know Your Foe if they'd kept the original name). One of the graduates from the first graduating class was named Levi Booth. Doesn't he sound like he could be a current member of the Badger team?

Location – Madison, Wisconsin. The similarities to Ann Arbor are striking. Both are ultimate college towns. Both have a special place in the hearts of most of their alumns. Both get ranked highly in those “Best Places To Live” lists. Both are close enough to a bigger city so as to not feel isolated, but are far enough away to be cities on their own. Both lean liberal and had extremely active protests during the Vietnam War era. But Madison – at least the campus – is beautiful. They have two lakes! Kind of like Notre Dame. Of course having two lakes didn't do the Irish any good against Michigan.

Nickname – Badgers. The badger is actually quite similar to a wolverine. But they're much friendlier. And they're undoubtedly cuter. When Know Your Foe first attended a game in Madison in 1997, we were struck by two things: one, how damn cold it was, and two, how cute Bucky Badger is. Plus, it's one of the only mascots that's also a verb. That's impressive.

Colors/Logo/Cheers –Cardinal and White. Solid if not spectacular colors. The advantage is the sea of red that Camp Randall Stadium is on Saturdays. There's no question what color the fans wear. The drawback is that the colors are quite common. Nebraska, Stanford, Alabama, NC State, heck even tOSU's are similar.

Sometime after the arrival of former football coach, current athletic director, and Wisconsin savior Barry Alvarez, the Badgers changed their logo from a W sitting inside an oval to a very '90s style, "forward moving" W, a nod to the state’s motto, “Forward.” Though Know Your Foe is not a big fan of the logo from a style standpoint, the university's sports teams have definitely moved forward since its introduction.

The fight song, On Wisconsin is one of the classics. It's certainly at the top of the second tier of fight songs after The Victors and Notre Dame's fight song. And it doesn't hurt that the marching band is great. Loud, entertaining and proficient. When they get the 80,000 plus fans in the stands to sing "When you say Wissssssconsin you've said it all,” it's impressive. In the past several years they've also pumped in Jump Around before the fourth quater. Now Know Your Foe likes us some House of Pain as much as the next guy, but I see this getting dated pretty soon.

Academics – Pretty darn good, but not quite elite. They like to think of themselves as a "Public Ivy," but based on the kids from my high school that got in there - and couldn't get into Michigan from in-state - I'd have to put them a couple notches below Michigan. Students and alumni would likely defend their school by saying it's a great combination of being an academically strong school and a great party school. And they'd be right. Wisco is consistently ranked among the top party schools in the country and most everyone who goes there loves it. Wisconsin ranks 38th in the most recent U.S. News ranking of American universities, tied with, among others, Illinois. That places them tied for third in the Big Ten.

Athletics – Until the aforementioned arrival of Barry Alvarez in the early '90s, Wisconsin was a wasteland for football. But three Rose Bowl wins and consistently tough teams under Alvarez have completely changed the attitude in Madison. And it's spilled over into other sports, particularly basketball, where the men's team is always a Big Ten contender and has one of the toughest home courts to play on for visitors. Meanwhile, the hockey team has always been strong with recent titles in men's and women's play.

Famous alums – A solid list which includes historian Stephen Ambrose, glass artist Dale Chihuly, '70s rocker Steve Miller, novelist Joyce Carol Oates, and CNN commentator Jeff Greenfield. But Wisconsin pales compared to Michigan by boasting only one astronaut, albeit a kickass one in Jim Lovell, and they're also the alma mater of major league baseball commissioner and all-around schmuck Bud Selig. That’s worse than having the Unabomber be an alum.

The Game - Technically, this game is meaningless as far as the Big Ten title and Rose Bowl berth is concerned. But I’m sure the Wolverines don’t want to go into the conference title game after a loss. Wisconsin has had a disappointing season and is – like Michigan – suffering through some key injuries. The motivation is stronger for the Wolverines: MICHIGAN 17, WISCO 13.


OnWisconsin! said...

Just an FYI that might be interesting.
While the future Big 10 was grinding down the future SEC...

"On, Wisconsin!" was the cry that Arthur MacArthur, Jr. of Milwaukee (father of Douglas MacArthur) used to electrify the 24th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry in the Battle of Chattanooga at Missionary Ridge, in the Civil War. He seized the regimental colors, and rallied his regiment with "On, Wisconsin!", for which he was awarded the Medal of Honor.
(from Wikepedia)

If you're coming to Camp Randall on Saturday check out the band pre-game pep rally at Union South to the east of the stadium at 10am. It is a fun time. Then come through the Civil War arch on the short walk to the stadium.
The arch honors Camp Randall for it's original purpose of training Wisconsin soldiers for the Civil War.

If you come to the game, have a good time and don't worry about people giving you a hard time. Laugh it off and it should all be in good fun (Madison is not Columbus).

Killing My Liver said...

"Plus, it's one of the only mascots that's also a verb. That's impressive."

Brilliant. Great job, as always.

goat7ed said...

Once again, a great job on one of my favorite features. Thanks. I look forward to KYF every week.

Like "half sacks", I'd give only partial credit for Wisky's one astronaut. While Jim Lovell is an "alum" of Wisconsin, he moved on after only two years to where he ultimately graduated, Navy (like 50 other astronauts (and one alleged diaper wearing felon-- Pampers bitches Pampers) in 1952.

Out of Conference said...

I love the town of Madison. My wife's an alumnus so she has special place for State Street, Student Union, etc. I love State Street for a different reason. I was in town on business before I met my wife, I went into a noddle shop for lunch, ordered a beer, went upstairs, sat down to enjoy my lunch, downed most of my beer, went to take a leak, got back to the table and my food and beer were gone. An overly attentive buskeep cleaned it all up even though an almost full bowl of noodles was still there. I asked the counter what happened and they gave me a new full bowl of noodles and a new beer!

Out of Conference said...

goat7ed - don't be digging too deep into school's claim to astronauts. One familiar to us all has a shaky claim to one on that the 3 man all-M mission.

Dezzi said...

So children.... what lesson have we learned from out of conference's story??

All: "ALWAYS finish your beer first!"

Matthew said...

Great post, as always.

Reading this series is now my favorite part about Friday mornings.

OnWisconsin!, that's a good bit of info. Benny should really save that in the archives for next time.

Andy said...

Madison is BY FAR the best Big 10 road trip. 1st place I ever drank a beer legally...

Katie said...

OnWisconsin, nice comment, thanks!

Benny, you always rock with the KYF, thanks so much!


Hemlock Philosopher said...

Madison is a great town. Have fun if your going to the game and be sure to try Spotted Cow, it's a tasty brew. Go Blue!

surrounded in columbus said...

i have been to Camp Randall for a couple of games in the '90's. it was one of the more friendly and hospitable places i've ever attended a road game.

aside from a few drunken students (which you can find anywhere), never had anybody do anything worse than ignore us. was offered brats & lienekugals (sp?) by most.

only real draw back was it was cold as all get out- the wind off the lake in november was pretty bitter.

certainly would suggest it to any michigan fan who has interest in a road game.

Out of Conference said...

I had a Spotted Cow (I think) a few weekends ago when I was just outside Milwaukee for the weekend with my wife to see some of her family. I went to the bar in the restaurant we were at and asked what a good local beer was. Obviously I must have forgot where I was, or the old bartender was being a wiseass, but he said, "Miller." You want Miller Gen Draft or Miller Lite? Not wanting to offend, I took the MGD. A few minutes later I saw someone drinking a Spotted Cow, so I head up to the bar for another beer and said, "Ok, I've learned a thing or two since you last saw me. Let me have a Sptted Cow." He laughed and told me it was made in a town not too far outside Madison.
Mmmm cheesecurds.

Katie said...

OOC, I agree!! MMMMM Cheese curds! I have been to Wisconsin for a Bon Jovi Concert however, not football.

lovinum said...

Although I've never personally visited Madison, I've heard nothing but good stuff about the town. My Dad is an alum and has some great stories about campus life during the Vietnam war era...THE party and protest town of the early 70s. Not everyone can say they got tear gassed walking back from the library...
Fortunately for me, we settled in Michigan so that I coule be a WOLVERINE (by far the more bad-ass animal of the two).

Maize said...

Don't forget that one of the 80's greatest movies was filmed at U of WI, Madison: BACK TO SCHOOL with Rodney Dangerfield.

"Why don't you call me sometime when you have NO CLASS!"

OnWisconsin! said...

OOC, Spotted Cow ale is brewed by the New Glarus Brewing Co, IIRC.
New Glarus is a cute little town of about 2000 people set in the hilly country about 45 minutes SW of Madison.
New Glarus is an interesting Swiss town with a fair amount of architecture in the Swiss style.
I just looked up their website if anyone cares to look:

DaBraylon17 said...

i know the wisky games means nothing standings wise, but if we lose and then beat ohio state, won't we be co-champs with OSU? i don't want that. i mean, i know that UM would have the tie breaker, but you know OSU fans would still claim "big ten champs 2007." but then, the fun part would be (just as they do all the time) to point to the score board of the UM-OSU game.

Hemlock Philosopher said...

"You never want to tie anything, especially with Ohio State," Hart said. "We want to win this game, and then go win the championship outright."

I don't think the players think of this game as a throw away.

J. Lichty said...

Cardinal and White. Solid if not spectacular colors. The advantage is the sea of red that Camp Randall Stadium is on Saturdays. There's no question what color the fans wear.

Look in the sea of red for hunting day glow orange and green bay packer colors, the alternative uniform for Badger fans. In fact, I think it is a rule in Wisconsin that you can own a Green Bay Packers Starter Jacket or a Badger one, but not both.

whetstonebuck said...

Seriously, I think this is going to be one of the better games this week. I'm expecting a blood bath.

Don't go and lose this game and ruin the "perfect storm" story line for next week.

Corey said...


Not too worry ... we can still lose this game and win the Big Ten(11). We just need to come out healthy so that we can give to$u our best effort and come out with a win. I guess watch out for flying bottles of change!

M Fans and Alums,
Bring you water bottle, bring your change, BUT MOST OF ALL BRING YOU VOICES.

OnWisconsin! said...

Whetstone, we are gonna kick your butts all over the field.
You have no chance, our execution and precision and energy level will outclass you completely, when you step on the field you...wait...what was that?
You're marching band's not coming?
You're talking about the football part of it?
In that case I hope that you are right about a good game but I think that our depleted d-line is going to struggle containing Hart.

Also, J.Lichty must have lived here at some point. Although not so much blaze orange now as their used to be...

WingRG said...

whetstone BUCK cheers for OSU. You already had a chance to "kick his butt" all over the field last week.

That being said, i think Wisconsin has a puncher's chance this weekend. UM is not completely healthy, and might be caught looking ahead.

Critical Badger said...

I'll readily concede Michigan's law and business programs trump Wisconsin's, but we have 70 academic departments in the top 10 nationally and our undergraduate reputations are truly peers in every sense of the word.

OnWisconsin! said...

Uh, wingrg, did you read my post at all?
I was joking about the bands not talking smack.
Incidentally our band did kick the Bucknuts band last week.